Monthly Archives: June 2011

Happy Birthday Donna!

 

When my family and I made plans to celebrate Donna’s birthday, I planned on making this:

Turtle Cake Recipe

One of Donna’s favorite desserts is chocolate turtle candies so I figured I would turn that into a cake version.

Unfortunately, the cake did not want to cooperate with me. I baked the three layers on Thursday evening- not only did they turn out sunken in the middle, but they also fell apart when I took them out of their pans. So when I was wide awake at 4am on Friday morning for no reason at all, I realized that I should turn the Turtle Cake into a Turtle Trifle:

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I had visions of this beautiful trifle in a beautiful trifle bowl. And this is what it looked like! Not that attractive!

Not only did my cake not cooperate, but the caramel didn’t either! It should have turned a dark brown color and it stayed the color of butter.. ick! At least it tasted like caramel.

Then there was the whipped cream… well that was a disaster as well. I had to run out at the last minute and buy some Reddi-Whip because that didn’t turn out either.

After all the cake/trifle drama, it didn’t look that good, but I think it tasted pretty good.

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Even though the trifle was pretty rich, and it didn’t turn out to be what I wanted, I realized that it didn’t matter. We had a lot of fun and I think that Donna had a good time celebrating her birthday with the family and the little kiddies.

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Happy Birthday Donna! We love you!!!

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The Best Chili Ever!

 

I think the first time that I ever made chili was back in the winter of 2009. I followed one of my favorite blogger’s recipes for Chicken Chili. I made a few changes to to the recipe and I’ve made many times since. This is one of those recipes that I now have committed to memory. I decided to make it tonight because what else says June 15 besides a hot bowl of chili! Wait… it’s not October? Well I guess the cool weather, rain, and the fact that we’ve had what, 2 days of hot weather so far this spring/summer had something to do with it as well.

The other names I thought of for this post were Lazy Girl’s Chili and One Pot Chili because this recipe is both of those. It is so simple and quick to make and clean up is super easy.

Start with a chopped onion, and sauté it in a large pot with olive oil until translucent.

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Throw in some minced garlic. I typically use about a teaspoon of it. See how the garlic is already minced for you? Perfect for a lazy chef like me!

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Cook that up for a little bit, but not for too long because you don’t want to burn the garlic. At this point, you can add ground meat of your choice to the pot. I really like the extra lean turkey breast best. You can use ground chicken or ground beef as well.. but again, this is for us lazy chef’s because once this ground turkey is browned, there’s really no fat to drain. If you were to use ground chicken (I’ve only seen it not lean) or ground beef, you’ll have to drain it and then it just becomes too much work! So stick with the extra lean turkey!

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Once your meat is all cooked up, add two 29 oz cans of tomato sauce, and any beans or any other mix-in’s that you prefer. I love corn in my chili! As far as the beans go, I’ll usually just throw in anything that I find in my kitchen cabinets.

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Yes- these are mainly generic ingredients and so not organic- but they’re so cheap! Don’t judge!

Next up, the most important step- adding in the spices!

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I never measure these out- I would guess that I put about a tablespoon of each into the pot. Maybe 2 tablespoons of the chili powder. The crushed red pepper is the best ingredient to make this chili a little spicy.

Once everything is all mixed up- the longer the pot sits on a low heat the better. It makes all of the delicious flavors come together deliciously.

Here it is in the pot… I guess chili isn’t too photogenic.

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Maybe this one is better?

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How about this- does it look appetizing yet?

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The reason why this chili is named “The Best Chili Ever” and not “Lazy Girl’s Chili” is because as I was eating it tonight- I said “this is the best chili ever” about 5 times. It’s pretty darn good. I recommend trying this or a version of your own sometime soon.

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The Best Chili Ever

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eat’s Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Chopped Onion (I typically use white)

1 TSP Minced Garlic

1 LB Extra Lean Ground Turkey

2 Cans Tomato Sauce- 29 oz Each

1 Can of Corn, drained

1 Can of Black Beans, drained

1 Can of Pinto Beans, drained

1 Can of Baked Beans

2 TBSP Chili Powder

1 TBSP Cayenne Pepper

1 TBSP Ground Cumin

1 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper

1. Sauté onions in a large pot in olive oil until translucent. Add in minced garlic, continue to cook for a minute or two. Add in ground turkey. Cook through on a medium heat.

2. Add tomato sauce, corn and beans, stir. Add all seasonings, stir.

3. Cook on a medium head for 20 minutes or so, turn on a low heat until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

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Ultimate M&M Cookies

 

Remember when I tried to crush M & M’s with my food processor in order to use them as pretzel toppings?

Well that didn’t go so well. Instead of ending up with big chunks of M&M’s, I ended up with M&M dust:

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I knew that I had to create something with that dust, so I came up with the Ultimate M&M cookie.

I started with this awesome Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. These are the type of cookies that are flat and crispy. Yum!

Pretend like the baking powder is really baking soda in the photo below, I caught it before I added it to my mixture.

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I chose to use Pretzel M&M’s as my chocolate chips. Who doesn’t love a sweet and salty combo?!?!

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Mix up the flour, baking soda and salt.

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After combining all ingredients, I sprinkled my magic M&M dust into the batter. I started by using about a quarter of the bag, then added a quarter more. I don’t think you can go wrong with the amount you use.

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In go the Pretzel M&M’s.

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I used a little ice cream scoop to make these about 1-1/2 tablespoons each instead of the 1/4 cup that the recipe calls for.

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Into the oven… and out came these yummies:

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These have to be one of my favorite treats that I’ve made.

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If  you look really closely, you can see colored speckles.

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Absolutely delicious! Enjoy!

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I like to dip stuff in chocolate

Sometimes a quick and easy dessert is the way to go. It also helps when that dessert is pretty! People like pretty!

When dipping stuff in chocolate- a good product to use is almond bark. From my experience, white chocolate chips do not melt well (remember, Amy?) And overall, the almond bark has really great consistency. It melts easily and hardens quickly.

 

And the pretty part? Well- sprinkles of course! Believe it or not, we always have sprinkles in the house!

You can either melt your almond bark on the stove top or in the microwave- then- dip away!  

 

 

Like I said, almond bark hardens up pretty quickly- but you’ll want to put your finished product in the refrigerator to fully harden.

Next up- white chocolate dipped Oreos! With the Oreos- I like to dip one side first, let it harden, then go for the other side.

 

 

 

 

Such an easy fun dessert option!

I had planned on using M&M and Butterfinger crumbs to coat the pretzels along with the sprinkles. Unfortunately, the M&M’s really do have a hard candy shell and did not crumble that easily when I pounded them with my meat tenderizer. I threw them in the food processor, and basically ended up with the consistency of sand. Oh well, I’ll have to try using those crumbs for something else!

 

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Pretzel Croissants

This is what happens when I have time to kill and I end up spending it wandering around Trader Joe’s:

I found these amazing treats hiding on the bottom shelf of the bread section.

O-M-G what a find! These are incredible. Imagine if a pretzel roll and a croissant had a baby… this is what you would get.

It’s funny because I just made a list the other night of things I would like to try making. Things that I do not have recipes for and that I have never seen or heard of before. One of the items on my list is “pretzel muffins.” If only I had taken it a step further and thought of this! Oh well… I guess Trader Joe’s will just have to make these for me. And I will have to continue to buy them and devour them!

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